Cities and police forces throughout the country are attempting to stifle the Occupy Wall Street phenomenon that has taken hold. Mayors of various cities have ordered the shutdown of many protestor encampments citing crime, violence, poor sanitation and upcoming winter weather as the primary justifications.
Just last week, New York City Police evicted Occupy Wall Street protestors from Zuccotti Park – ground zero for protests in NYC for the last two months. However, every time a city decides to restrict the First Amendment rights of protestors during the Occupy Wall Street movement, concerns arise regarding the use of excessive force by police.
Occupy Wall Street Excessive Force Allegations
As police deal with Occupy Wall Street protestors, many police have used extreme methods of “crowd control.” For example, last week an 84-year-old woman was hit with pepper spray while taking part in a protest in Seattle. The woman stated she went to the protest in an effort to show solidarity with New York following a police action in NYC in which they cleared protestors from a Manhattan park called Zuccotti Park.
Zuccotti Park itself is also no stranger to violence between police officers and protesters. Just last week, a 20-year-old protester was beaten to the ground by police after police claim the protestor stole an officer’s hat and resisted arrest. As a result of the beating, the attorney for the young protestor stated he needed four staples just to close the gash given to him by police batons.
Also in New York City, lawsuits have already been filed against the N.Y.P.D. claiming false arrest and the use of excessive force – with the most recent arising out of incident at a downtown Manhattan Citibank, but there are surely many to follow.
Moreover, following the eviction from Zuccotti Park, many NYC Occupy Wall Street protestors intended to stage a 24-hour drum protest at the East Side home of Mayor Bloomberg. However, police had other ideas – they blocked off every corner with metal barricades and lines of police, severely restricting the protestors’ right to protest in a public place.
This restriction upon the First Amendment rights in a public place, in addition to the use of excessive force, raises concerns regarding the rights and safety of Occupy Wall Street protestors. If you believe a police officer violated your constitutional rights, or used excessive force during an arrest, contact an experienced civil-rights/personal-injury attorney to be advised of your rights and options.